TIPHSAH (tĭf’sa, Heb. tiphsah)

A town on the northern border of Solomon’s kingdom (1Kgs.4.24). It was an important city on the Euphrates River where the caravan route from Egypt and Syria passed en route to countries to the east. Greek and Roman records give it as Thapsaeus and indicate that it was strongly fortified. Xenophon tells how Cyrus II crossed the river at this ford (Anab. 1.4.2).A town, apparently not far from Tirzah, the inhabitants of which were massacred by Menahem (2Kgs.15.16). It was on the Jordan and is possibly modern Tappuah.

TIPHSAH tĭf’ sə (תִּפְסַח). The word means “a ford, and the place was prob. Thapsacus (Amphipolis of Seleucid times), modern Dibseh, an important crossing on the middle Euphrates. It is claimed in 1 Kings 4:24 that Solomon’s kingdom in Israel’s “golden age” reached to this strategic caravan town. There is no means of knowing how strongly the remote frontier was held. A great E-W trade route, moving around the Fertile Crescent, had a staging post here. Xenophon mentions the place (Anabasis 1.4.11). The Tiphsah mentioned in 2 Kings 15:16, as having been attacked by Menahem of Israel, could be the same place. Others, without lower critical justification, amend to “Tippuah” (e.g. RSVmg.).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(tiphcach, "ford"; Thapsa):

(1) This marks the northern extremity of the dominions ruled by Solomon, Gaza being the limit on the South (1Ki 4:24). It can hardly be other than Thapsacus, on the right bank of the Euphrates, before its waters join those of the Balik. The great caravan route between East and West crossed the river by the ford at this point. Here Cyrus the younger effected a somewhat perilous crossing (Xenophon, Anabasis i.4, 2). The ford was also used by Darius; but Alexander the Great, in his pursuit constructed two bridges for the transport of his army (Arrian iii.7). Under the Seleucids it was called Amphipolis. The site is probably occupied by the modern Qal`at Dibse, where there is a ford still used by the caravans. It is about 8 miles below Meskene, where the river makes a bend to the East.

(2) (Codex Vaticanus Thersa, Codex Alexandrinus Thaira): The inhabitants of this town, which was apparently not far from Tirzah, did not favor the regicide Menahem, refusing to open to him. In his wrath he massacred the Tiphsites with circumstances of horrible cruelty (2Ki 15:16). Khirbet Tafsah, about 6 miles Southwest of Nablus, corresponds in name, but is probably too far from Tirzah.